GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Eighthours » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:00 pm

Lime wrote:What do you guys do in terms of your studio setups?


I have a music desk with my iMac on it, an Ableton Push 2 and monitor speakers on the raised corner 'ears', and a condenser mic on a mic stand. Next to the desk I have an Elektron Analog Keys on a keyboard stand, and my electric guitar and various assorted paraphernalia in the corner of the room. And various devices scattered everywhere, it's not the cheapest hobby I've ever had! I'm in an alternative rock band but noodle around with electronic stuff solo. I was about to create a live set for doing solo gigs, but then lockdown happened!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:01 pm

Eighthours wrote:
Lime wrote:What do you guys do in terms of your studio setups?


I have a music desk with my iMac on it, an Ableton Push 2 and monitor speakers on the raised corner 'ears', and a condenser mic on a mic stand. Next to the desk I have an Elektron Analog Keys on a keyboard stand, and my electric guitar and various assorted paraphernalia in the corner of the room. And various devices scattered everywhere, it's not the cheapest hobby I've ever had! I'm in an alternative rock band but noodle around with electronic stuff solo. I was about to create a live set for doing solo gigs, but then lockdown happened!


Sounds great :D - any chance of a photo of the setup?

what music desk is it for example?

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Eighthours » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:03 pm

Lime wrote:
Eighthours wrote:
Lime wrote:What do you guys do in terms of your studio setups?


I have a music desk with my iMac on it, an Ableton Push 2 and monitor speakers on the raised corner 'ears', and a condenser mic on a mic stand. Next to the desk I have an Elektron Analog Keys on a keyboard stand, and my electric guitar and various assorted paraphernalia in the corner of the room. And various devices scattered everywhere, it's not the cheapest hobby I've ever had! I'm in an alternative rock band but noodle around with electronic stuff solo. I was about to create a live set for doing solo gigs, but then lockdown happened!


Sounds great :D - any chance of a photo of the setup?

what music desk is it for example?


I've had it for 4 or so years now, so I'm afraid I don't remember! A quick trawl through my emails hasn't helped. :(

Can provide photo when I'm (a) home and (b) have cleared some of the crap off it. :D

I have to say that I'm in more of a Logic mood than an Ableton one at the moment, particularly because of the recent update that added the live loops mode.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:16 pm

Eighthours wrote:
I have to say that I'm in more of a Logic mood than an Ableton one at the moment, particularly because of the recent update that added the live loops mode.


If I ever go Mac, I would go Logic I think, it seems a bit more 'standard'

I went with Ableton as the basic version came with my Scarlett 2i2, and there was a great offer on to update to Standard with an Akai APC 40 Mk II - and I was finding recording so easy with Ableton, compared with Pro Tools First, which also came with the Scarlett.
The whole 'Loops' part of Ableton isn't really my thing, I'm more of a linear tracks person - but Ableton seems to handle both pretty well. But I am thinking of using the 'Clips' style feature to record multiple takes and pick the best of them, where 'happy accidents' line up and make something extra.

It's all pretty new to me, to be honest!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Eighthours » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:28 pm

Lime wrote:
Eighthours wrote:
I have to say that I'm in more of a Logic mood than an Ableton one at the moment, particularly because of the recent update that added the live loops mode.


If I ever go Mac, I would go Logic I think, it seems a bit more 'standard'

I went with Ableton as the basic version came with my Scarlett 2i2, and there was a great offer on to update to Standard with an Akai APC 40 Mk II - and I was finding recording so easy with Ableton, compared with Pro Tools First, which also came with the Scarlett.
The whole 'Loops' part of Ableton isn't really my thing, I'm more of a linear tracks person - but Ableton seems to handle both pretty well. But I am thinking of using the 'Clips' style feature to record multiple takes and pick the best of them, where 'happy accidents' line up and make something extra.

It's all pretty new to me, to be honest!


Takes is one of the areas where Ableton could do with improvement for me... Logic allows you to record the same section over and over again and choose which take you want, even comping pieces of multiple takes to create the best one you can for that section. I also compose linearly so the Session view in Ableton has mostly acted as an awesome sketch pad where I can lay down initial ideas. But Logic now has that too. Both bits of software are amazing and Push 2 is awesome, but Logic is ahead for me at the moment, although it can get a bit too complex too quickly.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:44 pm

Eighthours wrote:Takes is one of the areas where Ableton could do with improvement for me... Logic allows you to record the same section over and over again and choose which take you want, even comping pieces of multiple takes to create the best one you can for that section. I also compose linearly so the Session view in Ableton has mostly acted as an awesome sketch pad where I can lay down initial ideas. But Logic now has that too. Both bits of software are amazing and Push 2 is awesome, but Logic is ahead for me at the moment, although it can get a bit too complex too quickly.


I've seen that you can set up a recording loop in Live, and then when you've done a few takes you can CTRL-Z back one at a time to pick the one you want, not ideal for A/B comparisons, but I'm going to have a play with various options.
Ideally it would just do a take per track, and automatically start on a new track each loop. Can it do this?

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Eighthours » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:53 pm

Lime wrote:
Eighthours wrote:Ideally it would just do a take per track, and automatically start on a new track each loop. Can it do this?


It sounds like the sort of thing it should do, but I'm not sure.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:15 pm

I've used Logic Studio 8, Ableton, Cubase and Repear. I most get on with Ableton for composing in the improvised way I do, but the insanely fast interface and general flexibility of Repear sometimes puts me there for recordings.

I used to do a lot of loop based stuff in Sony Acid Pro as well. That was very similar to Ableton but just not as good.

As for studio desks, honestly, for the money, I would just build one. At the moment, I just use an IKEA desk with black studio style trestle legs. I have my master controller on a seperate keyboard stand and turn 90 degrees between the two and my guitar pedals are below the keyboard at the moment as well, meaning I can easily reach for the keys and controls while playing guitar as well.

I've been looking at some musical analogue synths, and at the moment, I'm really impressed by the Arturia (I've always loved their VSTs) Microbrute and Matrixbrute (the next one up, I think it's called). Read a good review of the Novation Mininova but.. Being a digital synth, I don't really see the point compared to a VST (I have legitimate copy of the Novation Basstation VST as well). THe vocoder/autotune type functions seem interesting, and it even comes with a free gooseneck microphone, but I just don't really see myself using it.

So, I'm letting things distill in my brain and may pick up my first analogue synth (or any sound-producing keyboard for that matter!) soon. Been looking at the 3 Korg micro synths too, they can be found in a bundle. They sound really fantastic, actually my keyboardist has two of them, and could just sit on top of the master midi.

The MicroFreak from Arturia as well sounds crazy, but not sure how useful it will be compared to the Brute.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:26 pm

I use Reaper. My setup beyond that is ass.

Left my Schecter in to get fixed/setup. Restrung my bass and my Yamaha AES, dat new string clankyness :dread:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:53 pm

Do you also find you accumulate gear? I find it hard to let go of old stuff. I have a load of keyboards - some of which are out on long term load to friends and family, multiple guitars, countless mixers, cables etc. As my partner used to gig for a living, we've got two lifetimes-worth of accumulations!

My lovely old RD700 stage piano is propped up against the wall in the hall at the bottom of the stairs, and has been for years! I'd miss it if it moved now. I should sell it really.

But it's great, and I did record with it a couple of years back. Better keep it.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:56 pm

Yeah, I have three crates full of cables and random crap I don't really use. I recently hooked up two of those stupid little Marshall MS-20 9v powered guitar amps in stereo to my Boss DD-6 delay pedal :lol:, as they can be powered using the same pedalboard daisychain power supply. One was a gift in my teens as the joke was I then finally had an amplifier, and another was gifted to me for an art project.

But most of the stuff accumulated has been give away to me because it's old or redundant. I have a few Reslo vintage ribbon mics (around 60s/70s - the Beatles used the same ones for vocals) I need to rewire the cables for so I can use them. I've bought the cable loom (Van Damme XKE is great stuff) and a friend dumped me a giant bag of Neutrik connectors to solder up, but still haven't done it.

The actually useful thing is probably a Novation Nocturn, I need to find my USB hub as my MacBook notoriously has a measly 2 USB sockets :lol: :fp: (it does however, have firewire, which is still solid as a rock)

The one thing I barely ever use as I replaced it with my saffire 20i/20o firewire interface is an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra, which is really an excellent bit of kit, albeit power stability issues and poor driver support now. The "Octane" pre-amps on that are actually reall nice, and it's a very flexible and compact little unit with 4 front-mounted XLR combi jacks and 6 hardware outputs, plus SPDIF for digital stuff. It's useful for use on the move, provided I can configure an OS that works with it.

It's not that hard to throw the firewire in a bag though (I have a purpose made one) because it's only 1U so not all that big or heavy. That I was able to reduce a massive live mixer and a bunch of other stuff to a single interface with a single cable is just nuts, I used to carry around an 8x cable loom, CRT monitor, bespoke computer chassis, keyboard, mouse, the lot, to record the band. That was strawberry floating crazy. I should upgrade the hardware on the same box so that it can probably be rack mounted with the same interface though, it looks great, shame broke the front panel off so it's currently secured with masking tape and black marker pen. I recorded hundreds of hours of stuff on this thing:

Image

So yeah, that's just an empty case sat in a cupboard at the moment... Together with an old 70W Marantz amplifier and there an AV amp downstairs that blew its PSU due to sheer heat output I need to carve charcoal off part of the CPU, it was getting so hot it was essentially melting... But that's broken Hi-Fi equipment, not pro audio :shifty:

Then again... I have four of these currently not connected to anything

Image

Edit: These are regularly selling for over £100, does anyone need an audio interface?

Image

Image

I think it works fine on Windows but not past a certain version of OSX. I have a replacement power supply (and the original) which addresses issues with voltage stability in the original and is more likely to activate all the inputs, but it works fine on bus power only for the first two. The pre-amps are excellent for the class and you also get two dedicated headphone amps that drive them good and loud.

The current control panel looks something like this

Image

It also has a zero latency DSP built in for things like plate reverb, delay etc on vocals.

This also comes with a valid license for Ableton Live Lite 7, which I think has unlimited tracks but only supports a maximum for 4 devices on up to 8 tracks or something like that. I have mutliple copies of Live Lite, note sure how many are left. You can always just multi-track in Live and then export individual channels or produce a stereo down mix and then do effects processing in anything else like Repear, if someone wants to try the Ableton workflow and excellent quantising/looping/"elastic" audio engine without meaningful restrictions.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:22 pm

Gah it's so tempting as I'm getting annoyed with having to swap inputs on my 2i2 if I want to swap between keyboards, guitar and Ipad. But I do have a mixer that I just need to hook up which would do the job, I'm just being lazy.

What I really could do with is a small mixer with built in subtle reverb to run into a PA.
There's so many ways to go with this, but I want to keep things simple, rather than having to set up an effect send/return and have yet another box to cart around.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Eighthours » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:27 pm

Green Gecko wrote:I've been looking at some musical analogue synths, and at the moment, I'm really impressed by the Arturia (I've always loved their VSTs) Microbrute and Matrixbrute (the next one up, I think it's called). Read a good review of the Novation Mininova but.. Being a digital synth, I don't really see the point compared to a VST (I have legitimate copy of the Novation Basstation VST as well). THe vocoder/autotune type functions seem interesting, and it even comes with a free gooseneck microphone, but I just don't really see myself using it.

So, I'm letting things distill in my brain and may pick up my first analogue synth (or any sound-producing keyboard for that matter!) soon. Been looking at the 3 Korg micro synths too, they can be found in a bundle. They sound really fantastic, actually my keyboardist has two of them, and could just sit on top of the master midi.

The MicroFreak from Arturia as well sounds crazy, but not sure how useful it will be compared to the Brute.


Do you have an iPad, out of interest? So many amazing synth apps on that thing. Pair with a MIDI keyboard and you're laughing.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:03 pm

Lime wrote:
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:
Lime wrote:
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:
I'm still not very good at it! Over the last couple of weeks I've been getting my hands around all three movements of Beethoven's Opus 13, !


If you're playing through all 3 movements of the Pathetique, you are pretty darn good!

It takes me about half an hour :lol:


I know that feeling. I've lost hours to this 1 little bar, and still can't get it even close to tempo. :dread:

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RH - fine
LH - fine

both - you are kidding me.

One of the very most depressing things you can do is watch a concert pianist play something you're trying to learn.

For example now with the Pathétique, if you watch a Daniel Barenboim video on YouTube, you might start to pack your bags and prepare for life on the road as an international performer while he's taking you through the opening ten bars of the first movement.

The second he hits the allegro di molto e con brio, and you find yourself at the bottom of bar 48 before you realise you haven't taken a breath for a while, your dreams are shattered.

There's just no chance I will ever be able to play most pieces at full speed. My brain simply doesn't work quickly enough to come remotely within even 50%.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Eighthours » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:07 pm

Lime wrote:Do you also find you accumulate gear? I find it hard to let go of old stuff. I have a load of keyboards - some of which are out on long term load to friends and family, multiple guitars, countless mixers, cables etc. As my partner used to gig for a living, we've got two lifetimes-worth of accumulations!

My lovely old RD700 stage piano is propped up against the wall in the hall at the bottom of the stairs, and has been for years! I'd miss it if it moved now. I should sell it really.

But it's great, and I did record with it a couple of years back. Better keep it.


I've never sold anything, but even though I have quite a lot I've only been doing this properly for 5 years or so, so it hasn't got too ridiculous yet. I'm sure people not into this hobby would see my collection as massively OTT, mind!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:52 pm

This will sound like a rant, but it's more like a frustration that I don't 'get' what's current...

YouTube is relentlessly pushing 'midi-packs' to me at the moment. Apparently producers the whole world over use them, to create pro-sounding chord progressions that are 'impossible' otherwise.

(cue youtube 'dude' tilting back in chair, eyes shut, saying 'ooooohhhh-weeeeeee yeah man that's what I'm talking about' as a synth plays a chord with a ninth in it)

Is it literally a file with lots of chords in, and you just cut and paste and hope they make something musical? I must be missing something. Surely you need to know what goes with what, or is it just trial and error?

It says you need no music theory at all, and 99% of music producers use this. What?!

What am I missing?

Edit: Are there like a set of classic chord progressions with it, like variations on II V I etc?

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Eighthours » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:15 pm

Lime wrote:This will sound like a rant, but it's more like a frustration that I don't 'get' what's current...

YouTube is relentlessly pushing 'midi-packs' to me at the moment. Apparently producers the whole world over use them, to create pro-sounding chord progressions that are 'impossible' otherwise.

(cue youtube 'dude' tilting back in chair, eyes shut, saying 'ooooohhhh-weeeeeee yeah man that's what I'm talking about' as a synth plays a chord with a ninth in it)

Is it literally a file with lots of chords in, and you just cut and paste and hope they make something musical? I must be missing something. Surely you need to know what goes with what, or is it just trial and error?

It says you need no music theory at all, and 99% of music producers use this. What?!

What am I missing?

Edit: Are there like a set of classic chord progressions with it, like variations on II V I etc?


Basically I believe that what you have said is the case. There is also chord progression software that comes up with suggested progressions for you. Personally I've never used these things... I just make what I think sounds good, by instinct. I do wish I knew a lot more theory - the theory I know is based on what I can hear, not what I can write down, which can prove annoying when I'm trying to get somewhere musically but don't know exactly how to do it. Lockdown would have been the perfect time to learn all this, but I have so far concentrated on learning how to mix properly as I felt that was my major weakness. So mixing is something I now have pretty good theory for, but I have yet to properly put it into practice.

Both the MIDI packs and the current emphasis on sample packs annoy me a bit. They're shortcuts to make money out of people who want to... er... shortcut their way to making music, and this is leading directly to a lot of really samey, bad tunes. Sampling can be an art form! It's very cool to help people who can't play an instrument make tracks of their own (hell, I could say that I cheat all the time by recording melodies using MIDI, for example, as I'm certainly only average when it comes to playing instruments), but it seems to me that some of the newer tools cut out what's exciting about the creative process. Mangle samples to make something very cool, sure - that's bloody awesome and is what many brilliant acts have done for decades - but just pasting a bunch of samples together that you've bought from elsewhere, without doing anything to them, is pretty weak to me. Again, good for initial experience but now everyone thinks they're going to be the latest and greatest producer because they can arrange a few royalty-free samples together.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:01 pm

Eighthours wrote:Both the MIDI packs and the current emphasis on sample packs annoy me a bit. They're shortcuts to make money out of people who want to... er... shortcut their way to making music, and this is leading directly to a lot of really samey, bad tunes.....

….. Again, good for initial experience but now everyone thinks they're going to be the latest and greatest producer because they can arrange a few royalty-free samples together.



'tis as I feared!

Now I think about it, there were some example 'packs' with Ableton that allowed you to select pre-prepared scenes and clips, which was fun for a few seconds until you realise it was the equivalent of pressing different rhythms on a Casio.

It's similar to those picture transfer kits you used to be able to buy years ago - where you get a background picture and a load of transfers and you can arrange them as you see fit. I guess it could result in a polished-looking finished product but unless you're painting your own backdrops and creating your own transfers, it's all a bit elementary.

I don't begrudge making 'making music' accessible, but it's the 'You'll be like a top producer, with access to all the things they do, this is how they do it' angle that irritates. It cheapens all the skills, from start to finish - the creative process, and the honing.

Maybe there's a middle ground - a kind of 'Hello Fresh' of music where the ingredients supplied are clearly raw, and you have to use to skills and artistry to turn them into something delicious for the ears. [/mangled metaphor]

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:38 pm

Software like that does cheapen things. Though, hopefully it's like a starting point for some people, who get interested in learning how to play an instrument or learning theory so they progress beyond the cookie cutter gooseberry fool that those programs usually create.

Haven't been inspired to record anything lately. I've been practicing some, but can't really get the motivation to do stuff.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Heskimo » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:17 am

Lime wrote:Is it literally a file with lots of chords in, and you just cut and paste and hope they make something musical? I must be missing something. Surely you need to know what goes with what, or is it just trial and error?

It says you need no music theory at all, and 99% of music producers use this. What?!

What am I missing?

Edit: Are there like a set of classic chord progressions with it, like variations on II V I etc?


As your edit suggests, rather than just a bunch of chords you hope to throw together, most will already be pre-configured into progressions. Probably 4 chord loops, maybe with a few variations of each, maybe some more "complex" ones. You could then mix and match ones in the same key to be a bit more "creative" and because they're midi, you'll still likely be picking your own sounds for them. But if you're buying midi packs, you're probably using stock presets on your synths too.

Like any tool, it could be useful for people stuck in a bit of a rut if they don't have a lot of theory knowledge and there's always chance to apply them creatively. But, as assumed, the most common scenario (and the one they're marketed heavily towards) is people trying to fast-track their success by taking the learning and trial and error out of it with their wallets - consequently, the fun and creativity too.

On the flip side, I literally sell preset sounds for electronic drums so... Whoops.


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